Conflict & Justice

Here's an explanation about why there's a backlog of immigration cases

This story is a part of

Global Nation

This story is a part of

Global Nation

The recent wave of migrants crossing the US-Mexico border tests any already overwhelmed US judicial system.

Many Central Americans crossing the southern US border are hoping to avoid violence back home. According to the Executive Office of Immigration Review, which handles immigration courts and receives these requests, courts are so backlogged, that some migrants are waiting until 2018 to have their case heard.

This means that immigration judges are working with major caseloads — around 1,400 cases per judge.

To solve this judicial crisis, the White House recently proposed a $3.7 billion plan that tackles this influx of migrants, with funding to various government departments. Pending Congressional approval, part of this funding would allow the Department of Justice to hire more immigration judges to ease their case load and to quickly go through these immigration cases.

But is it good to go through these cases so quickly?

We've created this video to try to answer that complex question.

The US immigration court system is complicated system. What is clear is that migrants coming to the US face major hurdles if they chose to move through the court system.

It helps to have a lawyer, but many do not. Their chances of winning their case may also depend on the judge they see. And seeking asylum, especially for Mexicans and Central Americans, is especially tough.

For example, data from the Department of Justice show that Mexicans have a 2 percent chance of receiving asylum, but Chinese immigrants have an 81 percent chance.

Our video breaks this down to try and understand just what's going on, but we found ourselves standing in front of the same question: With all the attempts to reform our immigration process, how do we build a more expedient court system without sacrificing a fair judicial process?